During a recent Real Housewives marathon, I came to a realization: You can identify a rich lady's hometown by the look on her face. Trend-wise, it turns out that cosmetic surgery is more like cosmetics than surgery: Women who live near and socialize with each other end up looking physically similar by dint of plumping, slicing, lifting, and blasting with Botox. A guide to the surgically enhanced faces of Real Housewives.
First up: Beverly Hills. California is the land of needles, and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is essentially a PSA on the dangers of Botox and Restylane. The women describe themselves as "crock full of Botox," and in the first episode Taylor let the camera film her getting shot up with fillers. Until I saw this, I had no idea that the preferred method is to shoot the goop into subcutaneous mounds, then smooth it out by hand afterwards.
Consequently, the Beverly Hills housewives have lips like engorged tubes of refrigerated cookie dough. When they talk, their lips look they might roll right off their faces, in part because none of them can move more than 10 percent of the muscles in their faces at any given moment. Consequently, their expressions are uncanny, with the few functioning parts (like the lips) moving far too much, while other parts move not at all. Since they are very wealthy, the Beverly Hills housewives have the best nose jobs. Nothing less than perfect nasal symmetry for these ladies.
In Miami, the look is that of a surprised cat. These housewives have a "more is more" plastic surgery philosophy. Marysol's face (second from right) looks as though it is in a perpetual state of anaphylactic shock, probably an allergic reaction to knowing that it may some day transform into a face like that of Marysol's mother, Elsa (far right). Their noses are not flawless.
The New Jersey housewives have a healthy dose of "surprised cat," but that's mostly due to the way they shape their eyebrows. Unlike the Miami housewives, the New Jersey housewives do not whittle their noses to sharpened points. Like all Housewives, they're obsessed with their boobs, but ever since Danielle Staub's sex tape (NSFW and SFW) I've felt sick every time the phrases "New Jersey" and "boob job" appeared in the same sentence. Exception: Dina Manzo. Note: Since several of these housewives are related by blood, they'd look alike without surgical intervention, too.
The Orange County housewives follow the same needle-happy trends as the Beverly Hills housewives. The main difference between O.C. and B.H. is that, whereas Beverly Hills ladies have the wealth and connections to enjoy the best of cosmetic techniques (they live in the show business capital of the planet, remember) the Orange County women are spoiled suburbanites, not spoiled show biz people who have always lived and worked in a world that relies on appearances.
In Atlanta, body remodeling takes center stage, mostly because these housewives don't worry so much about wrinkles. (Is this that whole "black skin stays smooth longer" thing? Or just that they didn't spend their youths in tanning beds, the way the California wives did?) In the season 3 finale, Kim Zolciak gets her boobs re-done brags about how "mushy" they are, unlike Nene's, which Kim suspects are hard and lumpy.
The New York housewives are, as an aggregate, the most human-looking. (Exception: Sonja Morgan, who looks very "California." And let's not even talk about the D.C. housewives. We've all agreed to pretend that never happened, right?) The glint in Kelly Bensimon's eye tends to be crazier than Botox-blasted skin that surrounds it.
[Images via Getty]